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The Doctrine of Christ - Contents
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    LESSON SIXTY-THREE The Promise of the Spirit

    1. When Christ was about to leave the world, he promised that the Father would send “another Comforter” to take his place. John 14:16.TDOC 176.1

    2. In his talk with his disciples, Christ called the Comforter the Holy Spirit, and the Spirit of truth. John 14:26; 15:26.TDOC 176.2

    3. Through the coming of this Comforter, Christ would come to dwell in believers. Compare John 14:17 and 20, and observe that the Spirit of truth “in you” (verse 17) is the same as “I in you” (verse 20). John 14:18.TDOC 176.3

    4. Christ thus present by the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, the world cannot receive, because it deals with tangible and visible things, but his presence is real to the believing disciple. John 14:17, 22, 23.TDOC 176.4

    5. Recognizing his equality with his Father, Christ told the disciples~ that he would send the Comforter to them after his departure from them. John 16:7.TDOC 176.5

    6. When Christ returned to heaven, his presence through the Holy Spirit was still with his disciples on the earth. Compare John 14:26 with 1 John 2:1, ARV, margin. (The same Greek word is translated “Comforter” in John 14:26 as is translated “advocate” in 1 John 2: l.)TDOC 176.6

    7. This is the provision for the fulfillment of Christ’s promise of his presence with his followers. Matthew 28:18-20.TDOC 176.7


    The most essential gift

    “Before offering himself as the sacrificial victim, Christ sought for the most essential and complete gift to bestow upon his followers, a gift that would bring within their reach the boundless resources of grace.TDOC 176.8

    ‘I will pray the Father,’ he said, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it sees him not, neither knows him, but you know him; for he dwells with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you orphans: I will come to you.”TDOC 177.1

    “Before this the Spirit had been in the world; from the very beginning of the work of redemption he had been moving upon men’s hearts. But while Christ was on earth, the disciples had desired no other helper. Not until they were deprived of his presence would they feel their need of the Spirit, and then he would come.TDOC 177.2

    “The Holy Spirit is Christ’s representative, but divested of the personality of humanity, and independent thereof. Cumbered with humanity, Christ could not be in every place personally. Therefore it was for their interest that he should go to the Father, and send the Spirit to be his success or on earth. No one could then have any advantage because of his location or his personal contact with Christ. By the Spirit the Savior would be accessible to all. In this sense he would be nearer to them than if he had not ascended on high.”-The Desire of Ages, 799.TDOC 177.3

    His nature a mystery

    “It is not essential for us to be able to define just what the Holy Spirit is. Christ tells us that the Spirit is the Comforter, ‘the Spirit of truth, which proceeds from the Father.’ It is plainly declared regarding the Holy Spirit, that in his work of guiding men into all truth, ‘he shall not speak of himself.’TDOC 177.4

    “The nature of the Holy Spirit is a mystery. Men cannot explain it, because the Lord has not revealed it to them. Men having fanciful views may bring together passages of Scripture and put a human construction on them; but the acceptance of these views will not strengthen the church. Regarding such mysteries, which are too deep for human understanding, silence is golden.”-The Acts of the Apostles, 51, 52.TDOC 177.5

    A universal presence

    “In the place of Christ’s visible, bodily, local, limited presence is now substituted an invisible but universal presence, in and with his body mystical. [the church], through his Holy Spirit.”TDOC 177.6

    The Spirit of truth

    In promising the Holy Spirit to his disciples, our Lord speaks of him as the Spirit of truth. That truth, which he himself is, that truth and grace and life which he brought from heaven as a substantial spiritual reality to communicate to us, that truth has its existence in the Spirit of God: he is the Spirit, the inner life of that divine truth. And when we receive him, and just as far as we receive him’ and give up to him, he makes Christ, and the life of God, to be truth in us divinely real; he gives it to be in us of a truth.”TDOC 177.7

    The successor of Jesus

    “Jesus is about to vacate his office on earth as teacher and prophet; but before doing so he would introduce us to his successor. As in a complex problem we seek to determine an unknown quantity by the known, so in this paschal discourse Jesus aims to make us acquainted with the mysterious, invisible coming personage whom he names the ‘Paraclete’ by comparing him with himself, the known and the visible one.”TDOC 178.1

    The Comforter and Christ

    “But if Christ thus distinguishes the Comforter from himself, he also identifies him with himself: ‘I will not leave you orphans: I will come to you.’ John 14:18. By common consent this promise refers to the advent of the Spirit, for so the connection plainly indicates. And yet almost in the same breath he says: ‘The Comforter whom I will send unto you.’ John 14:26. Thus our Lord makes the same event to be at once his coming and his sending; and he speaks of the Spirit now as his own presence, and now as his substitute during his absence.”TDOC 178.2

    Christ and the Father

    “In the first part of his talk with his disciples, Christ said, ‘I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter,” but later he said, ‘I will send him unto you.” This is one of the many incidental evidences that even while he was here on the earth Christ assumed his equality with the Father. The Father sent the Comforter, and so did Christ.”TDOC 178.3

    The indwelling presence

    “All the fullness of God becomes operative and personally present in the world and in the spirit of man by the power of the Holy Spirit. This, the Lord Christ and the Father dwell personally and lovingly in him who loves Christ and keeps his word.”TDOC 178.4

    The promise for us

    To us today, as verily as to the first disciples, the promise of the Spirit belongs. God will today endow men and women with power from above, as he endowed those who on the day of Pentecost heard the word of salvation. At this very hour his Spirit and his grace are for all who need them and will take him at his word.”-Testimonies for the Church 8:20.TDOC 178.5

    Christ and the Spirit

    “The name Paraclete is applied to Christ as well as to the Spirit; and properly: for it is the common office of each to console and encourage us and to preserve us by their defense. Christ was their [the disciples] patron so long as he lived in the world; he then committed them to the guidance and protection of the Spirit. If any one asks us whether we are not under the guidance of Christ, the answer is easy:TDOC 178.6

    Christ is a perpetual guardian, but not visibly. As long as he walked on the earth he appeared openly as their guardian: now he preserves us by his Spirit. He calls the Spirit ‘another Comforter,’ in view of the distinction which we observe in the blessings proceeding from each.”TDOC 179.1

    “Christ is our Advocate with the Father, and the Holy Spirit is Christ’s Advocate with us. As Christ pleads for us at the throne of grace, so the Spirit pleads for Christ in our hearts.”TDOC 179.2

    The needed experience

    “Is not the great thing wanted this, that the Spirit of God should be so poured out upon Christ’s people that men should be made aware of his presence with them, and of the presence of Christ at the right hand of God? so poured out that there should be a coming together, in some sense, of the blessed God and of that world which has separated itself from him, that the powers of the world to come should take hold upon men and constrain them to cry out, ‘Men and brethren, what must we do?”TDOC 179.3

    “We need the power of Christ brought to bear upon our hearts by the Spirit of Christ within us. When Christ was on the earth, he was yet at an immeasurable distance from his disciples. By the gift of the Holy Spirit this distance is annihilated. He comes nearer to his people now than when he washed their feet. He comes into their hearts, and takes possession of their wills, their understandings, their energies.”TDOC 179.4

    The third person of the Godhead

    “Not only individual Christians, but whole communities of disciples are found who have been so imperfectly instructed that they have never known that there is a Holy Spirit, except as an influence, an impersonal something to be vaguely recognized. Of the Holy Ghost as a divine person, dwelling in the church, to be honored and invoked and obeyed and implicitly trusted, they know nothing.”TDOC 179.5

    How to receive the gift

    “How shall the heart of the believer be changed into a holy of holies, where the fullness of the Godhead shall dwell? Let us fix our eyes steadily on the means that Christ hath pointed out to us. Let us love him and keep his commandments. Let our love to him express itself in the utmost deference to his behests. Let us lovingly obey him. Let us obediently love him. Let us recognize him in his word, and render to his word the honor due to him. Let his word rule in our hearts. We shall no sooner have begun heartily to do this than we shall find the Spirit of truth, the Comforter, with us, and shall be wonderfully aided to discover Christ in his word: and in Christ the Father will be revealed to us, and in all this nothing fictitious, nothing even symbolical. It would be difficult to conceive any addition to this promise. It contains within itself all conceivable wealth of blessing.”TDOC 179.6

    The promised presence of Christ

    “Jesus read the future of his disciples. He saw one brought to the scaffold, one to the cross, one to exile among the lonely rocks of the sea, others to persecution and death. He encouraged them with the promise that in every trial he would be with them. That promise has lost none of its force. The Lord knows all about his faithful servants who for his sake are lying in prison or, who are banished to lonely islands. He comforts them with his own presence. When for the truth’s sake the believer stands at the bar of unrighteous tribunals, Christ stands by his side. All the reproaches that fall upon him, fall upon Christ. Christ is condemned over again in the person of his disciple. When one is incarcerated in prison walls, Christ ravishes the heart with his love. When one suffers death for his sake, Christ says, ‘I am he that lives, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive forevermore.... and have the keys of hell and of death.’ The life that is sacrificed for me is preserved unto eternal glory. At all times and in all places, in all sorrows and in all afflictions, when the outlook seems dark and the future perplexing, and we feel helpless and alone, the Comforter will be sent in answer to the prayer of faith. Circumstances may separate us from every earthly friend; but no circumstance, no distance, can separate us from the heavenly Comforter. Wherever we are, wherever we may go, he is always at our right hand to support, sustain, uphold, and cheer.”-The Desire of Ages, 799, 800.TDOC 180.1

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